Freelancer porting of Wing Commander ships

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I haven't played the game for a long time. Was it possible to have some cargo at the beginning of the story? If so a Tarsus would be indeed a better starting ship.
The starter ship is a civilian-grade light fighter, though a freighter is available for purchase. However, considering the game design and how you kinda get locked from most content until you get through missions, which are relatively close to one another, freighters aren't that attractive, which is probably something I'll have to tinker with as well.

Progress-wise, I've got a 80 MB working package now that converts almost everything for the Liberty Act, if anyone is interested.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Sounds promising. I'd be interested in trying it out.

Here's a compressed file, uncompress it into your DATA folder for the game, and it should ask you to overwrite two files. After that, it'll be good, though without the modified .exe, you'll see the ships disappearing at too close distances for confort.
 

Star Rider

Rear Admiral
So I went ahead and copied the files over to my Freelancer Installation. Fired it up and started a new game. I must say it was awesome watching The Donau get jumped by the flight of Dragons.

So far I've only got as far as Completing Mission 1 B, the hunt for the Rouge Base.

The Razors are definitely harder to hit than the vanilla ships the Rouges use thanks to the smaller silhouette. This added to the challenge of saving the prison ship and Beta 4 during the search for the Rouge Base. It was however an enjoyable challenge.

Some odd quirks that I did notice:
Ships will pull 180 degree turn and reverse to land on the Missouri Jutland Carrier. When Trying to land on the Carrier myself I was caught in an infinite landing cut scene but was able to bypass this by hitting escape.

During the cut scene where Juni gives you the starter ship. The Starflier still appears in the cut scene and on the landing pad. Once in space the ship becomes the Ferret.

When landing on Pittsburgh, King's ship transformed from the Arrow back into the Patriot. Once back in space the ship was an Arrow again.

Other then that, everything worked like it was suppose to and it was enjoyable. I look forward to running a few missions when I get Home tonight so I can upgrade from the Ferret to the Hellcat V.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Some of the ships in the cutscenes are, for some reason, different than the player ships, but I think I'll be able to switch them. As for the carrier landing, I'm going to make more checks with the latest edits I pulled on it, to see whether I can reproduce the bug. As for the increased challenge, it's a good side-effect, I'd say, but there might be something more coming soon: after a discussion with DefianceIndustries, I started looking at ways to remove the whole "all guns are actually turrets in Freelancer" thing to get fixed mount guns like for most ships in Wing Commander. Thing is? I've done it and the first tests are pretty interesting when I combine this and increased banking angles for all ships, as the NPC fighters are shooting decently with the new configuration where the ships fire only in the guns' axis.

The issue is that the game interface is really NOT designed around this, and it shows well, particularly when playing in third person (and let's be honest, 99 % + are playing in this camera mode). I will tinker a bit more, possibly set up the guns to have by default a small angle so that the player is forced to get aligned well but is still able to shoot at the target without being incredibly frustrated. It should also have the side-effect of making evasive maneuvers much more effective for everyone.

TBH, this would be the first big gameplay change brought by the mod, and I'll have to playtest it quite a bit before providing you with even a beta-testing release. I agree with DI that it can make it feel a lot more like Wing Commander, but it needs to be playable first. However, between writing parts of this post, I actually did some tinkering, giving the guns and mounts such parameters that allow a 5° freedom of movement around the gun axis in both directions, and it works like a charm.

My idea is to keep this 5° value for most fighters except for a handful of advanced ones such as the Excalibur or the such, which will have as an important feature, just like in the games, auto-tracking guns, AKA a wider firing angle for the mounts.

And, yes. Oh so much YES, the Black Lance attack at the beginning? It's so much justifying making the mod by itself, with everything else being icing on the cake (and when you get to see some of the cutscenes with the Valkyrie replaced by Excalibur, wow).

As of now, the ships integrated ingame are:

Arrow - Liberty Light Fighter
Clarkson - Transports
Demon - Bounty Hunters Light Fighter
Drayman - Armoured Transport
Evansville - Rheinland Cruiser
Excalibur - Rheinland Heavy Fighter
Ferret - Civilian Light Fighter/Starter Ship
Hellcat - Liberty Heavy Fighter
Jutland - Liberty Dreadnought
Lance - Order Heavy Fighter
Prowler - Rheinland Corvette
Rapier A - Border Worlds Light Fighter
Razor - Pirates Light Fighter
Shuttle - Liberty Freighter
Southampton - Liberty Cruiser

I guess I should be able to provide a next package by Sunday or so, though no promises. The goal will be to add some more Bretonian ships as well as the Corsairs Light Fighter if possible, and to have the new 5° gun system generalized. Thanks again for your report, it's pretty comprehensive and useful. :)
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
I hate 3rd person mode, allways makes me feel like I am watching someone play instead of me playing/beeing in that univers.
Sure 3rd person give you more overview but to me it still feels odd. Man I wish there would be a 1st person mode for Mass Effect. ^_^

As for fixed gungs, did the game support joystick? I only remeber playing it with mouse because of the mentioned "turret" like behavior of the guns and ship.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I hate 3rd person mode, allways makes me feel like I am watching someone play instead of me playing/beeing in that univers.
Sure 3rd person give you more overview but to me it still feels odd. Man I wish there would be a 1st person mode for Mass Effect. ^_^

As for fixed gungs, did the game support joystick? I only remeber playing it with mouse because of the mentioned "turret" like behavior of the guns and ship.
Huh, the game does feel pretty nice-looking using third-person, but I guess to all their taste. For joysticks, nope, as far as I can tell, it was a complaint I saw regularly, and keep in mind for aiming that there isn't a central targeting reticule in the UI, making it really painful and frustrating to play with fixed guns, to the point it's a complete no-go.
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
IIRC there was a mod that fixed the crosshair to the center but its been so long ago that I am not certain how it worked or where I found it.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
On another note, here's the Bretonian corvette, the Venture:

1569617846425.png


The Exeter, shown below, will stand for the Bretonian mid-range capital ship:

1569617894628.png


Still got the carrier/dreadnought as the last Bretonian capital ship to import to the game, and two fighters, most likely Wing Commander I/II era for the lot of them so as to keep the look consistent. The plan is to have Rheinland field advanced Confederation units, Kusari use Kilrathi ships, the Nomad with Nephilim while the Border Worlds, Pirates and other Corsairs/Outcasts use UBW and other crafts of the kind.

EDIT

And the Bretonian battleship is there, though not entirely integrated (missing most turrets and the various docking paths as well as definitive integration/replacement of the original ships):

1569691736871.png


EDIT 2: the ship now has her two docking paths:

1569699389066.png

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1569700368015.png


Now, considering the small detail of each faction having thematically-selected ships and fighters, as well as one of them having Kilrathi equipment, I will leave as an exercise to the reader the possibilities offered by these in-game assets for anyone who feels enthusiastic and creative with code.

I'm not saying that people could recreate the original games and campaigns in Freelancer... but I'm not saying they could not. Let alone set up a proper multiplayer server to have a persistent battleground the server admins could reconfigure to show the progress of each side in the war.

EDIT: Bretonia's light fighter is now the Scimitar, while planet Cambridge offers some decent fighters (freighter not modified yet).

1569745026987.png

1569745167178.png

Finally, the Bretonian heavy fighter Sabre:

1569749165037.png
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
And here's the new Beta package, which includes the following replacements:

Liberty:
* Light fighter -> Arrow
* Heavy fighter -> Hellcat
* Freighter -> Confed Shuttle
* Cruiser -> Southampton
* Dreadnought -> Jutland (the landing-capable ones from vanilla are landing-capable too)

Bretonia:
* Light fighter -> Scimitar
* Heavy fighter -> Sabre
* Corvette -> Venture
* Cruiser -> Exeter
* Battleship -> Confederation (the landing-capable ones from vanilla are landing-capable too)

Rheinland:
* Heavy fighter -> Excalibur
* Corvette -> Prowler
* Cruiser -> Evansville

Order:
* Very Heavy Fighter -> Lance/Dragon

Civilian:
Light fighter -> Ferret
Transports -> Clarkson
Armoured Transport -> Drayman

Pirate:
* Light fighter -> Razor

Bounty Hunters:
* Light fighter -> Demon

Border Worlds:
* Light fighter -> Rapier A

The next ports will involve Civilian, Bounty Hunters, Corsairs and Border Worlds fighters, then the Kusari and finally Rheinland/Nomad crafts, and considering the total number of ships to port, this release puts the project at roughly 50 % completion. As for the following download link, it'll last 30 days from the post. Hopefully, by then, there will be new packages posted or maybe a more permanent hosting solution. Once again, download it (164 MB), then unpack it into your Freelancer game folder, it'll replace some files.

Link: https://ufile.io/afhdm0uk

The LOD issue can be solved by following the .exe modifications specified here: https://the-starport.net/modules/mediawiki/index.php/Limit_Breaking_101 under the section "Visibility".
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral







I am glad to present here the ultimate fighter of the Civilian branch, accessible only to top-level Freelancers: the F-44X Super Rapier: pretty much an early model of the Nephilim War era Rapier variants, capable of mounting the best weaponry and shields of the game, which will conclude the Rapier tree, the Civilian fighters giving access to a F-44C and a F-44J before the Super Rapier:



F-44C Rapier II pictured above, a tough middle-range fighter suitable for many missions.



F-44J Rapier II pictured above, a modernized variant of the old gal, an end-of-campaign fighter for the player.

In addition, I have added the beloved Epee, the Banshee and the Pirate Thunderbolt to the game:



Now, the only remaining fighters to be added are the Bounty Hunters', Corsairs', Kusari's and one Rheinland's.

FYI, the uncompressed mod is currently weighing 580 MB, and is a 200 MB download, with a GB expected for the full conversion uncompressed once it's done.
 
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gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
The new fighters make the game look so much better. Is there any chance that some of the old places could be upgraded too or at least get a texture rework?
Also writing that I know that would be a lot of work and the characters would look so much out of place then.

Anyway good work with the models so far.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
The new fighters make the game look so much better. Is there any chance that some of the old places could be upgraded too or at least get a texture rework?
Also writing that I know that would be a lot of work and the characters would look so much out of place then.

Anyway good work with the models so far.
Upgrading the station models should be entirely doable as well, though it's a secondary goal compared to the fighters ajd other ships. As for the interior environments and the characters... difficult but not impossible. I've taken a look at the files for the 'rooms', and it seems workable, as long as I can have relevant 3D environments.

For example, I've fancied the idea of using the detailed hangars I already have to serve as rooms for the landing pads and shops for the battleships. Maybe for stations if I change some of them. However, I would quickly reach my limits, in particular for planets, bars and the diversity of space stations unless I could get full 3D interiors for Privateer-like environments, and that would be kind of an insane amount of work from our modellers for a single project as these wouldn't really be used for anything else.

A texture rework for the stations is possible, and actually already done in some mods like Crossfire, but I do not have nearly enough entries and contacts within the FL modding community to ask for these myself - I'm not a known entity like within the HW modding community. At this time, the FL mod is just an offshoot of various other mods rather than something with its dedicated assets and considering what our modellers and texturers are working on, I'm not going to ask them for specific work on it and will rather focus on creatively recycling what I have, which is already a decent lot.

EDIT: Avenger added and collision meshes fixed for the carriers.
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
The release of the 1.0 version of the mod is coming very soon now. Here is the definitive list of ship replacement for playable fighters:

Light Fighters (availability level)Freelancer factionFreelancer shipWing Commander replacement
0​
CivilianStarflierFerret - DONE
1​
LibertyPatriotArrow - DONE
2​
PirateBloodhoundRazor - DONE
4​
CivilianStartrackerEpee - DONE
4​
HuntersPirahnaDemon - DONE
4​
BorderDaggerRapier A - DONE
6​
BretoniaCavalierScimitar - DONE
8​
CorsairsLegionnaireEkapshi - DONE
10​
KusariDrakeDralthi - DONE
13​
CivilianHawkRapier C - DONE
20​
RheinlandBansheeBearcat - DONE
Medium Fighters (availability level)
2​
LibertyDefenderHellcat - DONE
8​
BretoniaCrusaderSabre - DONE
13​
PirateWolfhoundThunderbolt Pirate - DONE
13​
KusariDragonVaktoth - DONE
13​
HuntersBarracudaThunderbolt - DONE
20​
BorderStilettoBanshee - DONE
22​
RheinlandValkyrieExcalibur - DONE
24​
CivilianFalconRapier J - DONE
28​
CorsairsCenturionGothri - DONE
Heavy Fighters (availability level)
16​
OrderAnubisDragon/Lance - DONE
26​
HuntersHammerheadAvenger - DONE
30​
CivilianEagleRapier X - DONE
30​
BorderSabreMorningstar
32​
CorsairsTitanBloodfang
The Kusari capital ships will be replaced with Kilrathi ones, the Rheinland battleship will have an advanced Confed' carrier (I think I'll give them the Jutland and will replace it with the Eagle or Ranger for Liberty use) and the Osiris' Order battleship will be replaced with @DefianceIndustries' Typhon stealth carrier to finish the whole thing, allowing you to play the campaign in full (replacement of Nephilim ships will come at a latter date, if they become available after the release of DI's own main project, the MUP). The names, guns and such will remain identical from vanilla Freelancer, and their modification - texts and appearance - will be the main feature of a planned 1.5 version. Further gameplay modification such as universal gun availability (no more limit to the gunmounts' level) or specific values of power generation, agility, etc., would make a 2.0 version.




EDIT: now that I think of it, it makes a lot more thematic sense to have the Lexington-class for Liberty and the Jutland-class for Rheinland.

EDIT 2: after realizing that the docking system in Freelancer doesn't allow a proper throughdeck docking/undocking path, I've included in the upcoming package slightly modified .dll for the games that make it that when undocking from a station/carrier, you get immediate control of your fighter rather than having the take-off scene, though I'm still trying to find a reliable workaround of sorts.
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Wow ! looks like you made great progress,

gonna be awesome, can't wait.

cheers L.I.F !
And it's done! All combat ships of the game - except for Nomads - have been replaced. The player freighters have yet to be replaced as well, but when it comes to fighters and capital ships, we're good. I'm currently uploading the mod, which should be around 300 MB compressed and 825 MB uncompressed. Once again, this is going to be the first layer of the mod, the most visible but not complete. Beyond the remaining ships, the texts, names, weapons and turrets have not been modified.

The other caveat is that numerous mod features do not show right away in the game or in a single place, making comprehensive testing a bit hard, so if you stumble upon bad textures, invisible ships and the like, please tell me where you found the issue, which ships were bugged and what ship you were flying. Ideally, sending me a copy of the latest save would help me reproduce the issue and fix it in a further release. This post will be edited with the link to the 1.0 version of the mod once it's finished uploading.

1.0 version of the mod HERE: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z3xd8tc3yo70o6n/Mod Wing Commander.zip?dl=0

CAUTION: the mod contains the modified. exe and .dll files in its folders. If you do not want to use them but would rather make them yourself, do not unpack the EXE folder and edit your own files following the instructions:

* here, https://the-starport.net/freelancer/wiki/index.php/Limit_Breaking_101#Docking_.2F_Jumping at manually launch from docking bay (parts 1 and 2)
* and here, https://the-starport.net/modules/mediawiki/index.php/Limit_Breaking_101#Visibility, to increase the LODranges.

Or use the already modified files.

Enjoy!

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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
L.I.F

I'll try it over the weekend, I'll let you know.
I'm currently uploading a new version - the link will be added later to this post - that replaces all of the freighters by @DefianceIndustries' glorious Tarsus, and sets up the storyline to have Trent being gifted one of them at the beginning. Each house's Tarsus will be progressively better equipped and armed, even though they look the same:

1570266268659.png

Above: the Tarsus in Liberty

1570266347970.png

Above: the Tarsus in most other places. :-P

The mainstay of traders, with two frontal guns and six turrets (four frontal, two rear), a healthy amount of cargo and the grace of an eagle*.

* in a blimp.






DOWNLOAD LINK: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z3xd8tc3yo70o6n/Mod Wing Commander.zip?dl=0
 
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Panther1.0

Master Chief Petty Officer
those Dragon fighters looks dangerous, I think I'll replay Freelancer, it's been some time, now with Wing Commander ships :)
 
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